I was strangely nervous all morning, waiting for noon when I would drive 45 minutes to pick up a teenage girl on my caseload to drive another 45 minutes to the train station. Teenagers freak me out a little bit, and even though I now work as an adoption specialist in the foster care system, I’m not yet comfortable talking to teenagers about adoption. Was I suppose to refer to this pre-adoptive parent she’s been visiting out-of-state all summer “mom”? Even if we didn’t talk about adoption stuff, what would we talk about?
And then, I find myself driving down the interstate talking to this girl about shopping, Twilight, Chicago, drawing, and Beyonce’s baby. She’s easy to talk to and a genuinely attractive girl. She smiles at me when I give her a package of Twizzlers for her train ride. I read in her case file that she likes surprises.
But a couple of hours before this, I was also reading about her previous mental health diagnoses and troublesome, odd behaviors. Reading about a girl who has been in foster care twice now, this most recent time due to an adoption disruption. She became “too much” for her adoptive mother to handle.
I wish I could say this is unusual. But on my caseload, more kids than this beautiful girl have already been adopted one time. “Forever family” has already lost its meaning. They’ve been dumped at the front door of their caseworker’s office with a garbage bag of their clothes. My supervisor recently told me that they no longer use the term “forever family.” Adoptions from foster care disrupt frequently enough, she thinks the phrase has no meaning to foster kids. While I’m not sure I agree, it still breaks my heart.
I pray for the kids on my caseload that this is the one and only time they are adopted. I work as hard as I can to ensure their adoptive parents are well-informed.
I waited in line with this sweet girl for the announcement that she could board her train. When they announced, I felt this tinge of a protective nature come into me, and I wanted to be able to walk her all the way to the train and keep her in my sight and out of harm’s way for the rest of her teenage and adult years. That isn’t my job, but I rest in the knowledge of the One I can request that of.
Lord, protect her from any more loss and grief and harm. Provide this newest family to her as a FOREVER family. Show yourself to her as the ultimate Love in her life over and over again.